The Secret of Secrets

Dan Brown

Lesson time 02:57 min

Dan provides parting words of wisdom and encouragement and reveals the never-before-seen artifact he promised to share in the first lesson of his class.

Dan Brown
Teaches Writing Thrillers
In his first-ever online class, best-selling author Dan Brown teaches you his step-by-step process for turning ideas into page-turning novels.
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At the beginning of this MasterClass, I made a promise to you. I told you that I would admit something to you that I had never admitted to anyone, and that I would show you an artifact that only I had seen. And of course, we know how important keeping promises is to the storytelling process. So I want to do that now. After I wrote "The Da Vinci Code" and it became so popular, I sat down to write my next novel. And I very quickly discovered that it was much harder than I thought to write when you know that a lot of people are going to read what you've written. It turned out to be a six-year process. And about three years into it, I was really questioning whether or not I could do it. And I decided to try to trick myself into believing that I had already written the book. And I thought this book was going to be called "The Secret of Secrets." And so what I did is I actually created the book. I created an artifact right here, "The Secret of Secrets." What this book is, I'm not even sure what book it is. I just stuck a fake cover on the front of this. I made this on my computer. And every morning, I would sit down and I would hold this book, and I would say, well, I can feel the weight of the book. I can see the book. It actually already exists. All I have to do is write it. And as a little bit of extra impetus, a little bit of extra enthusiasm, I printed a copy of the New York Times bestseller list. And I photoshopped "The Secret of Secrets" into the number one spot trying to convince myself that the book had already been written, had already been published, and was already successful. This was just a trick to get me through that really tough time in writing a novel. And the reason I'm telling you this is that writing a novel is an enormous undertaking, and self-doubt will be part of that process. There will be days you just don't know if you can do it. And on those dates, what is going to save you is your process, your ritual. So if you're just starting to write a novel, go create that process. Go create that ritual. And if you are in the middle of a novel right now, recommit to that ritual. And I wish you the very best of luck.

Craft page-turning suspense

Packed with secret symbols and high-stakes suspense, Dan Brown’s thrillers have sold more than 250 million copies and include one of the world’s best-selling novels, The Da Vinci Code. In his writing class, Dan unveils his step-by-step process for turning ideas into gripping narratives. Learn his methods for researching like a pro, crafting characters, and sustaining suspense all the way to a dramatic surprise ending.


Students give MasterClass an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars.

Super Practical and Generous. The promise of nuts and bolts fulfilled. Commitment to the process, self doubt, an agent being a 'friend'. The writers mindset. Being kind to oneself while being tough on your work ethic. This was invaluable. I LOVED every minute of this Masterclass.

Learned so much! I'm inspired and excited to finish my novel, polish it up, and write another one. : )

Dan is an amazing teacher. He really connects with class and doesn't talk down to you. 10 out of 10

I have been working on a story for many years now and I doubted myself. This class has given me the encouragement I needed to know that I can write my novel.


Jeremy G.

This is one of my favorite classes on here, so solid, concise and to the point! Thank you Master Brown for the knowledge and inspiration!

A fellow student

This was amazing!! Deception Point is still the best novel I have read as an adult. Thank you Dan Brown!

Nancy G.

Thank you, Mr. Brown, for sharing your wisdom, passion, and experiences. You have truly inspired me.

Ivica Ď.

The best gift I could possibly receive! My mum gave me Dan's Masterclass as a Christmas gift with a note "I hope this will help you to become a successful author." I hope her wish will come true. Dan's great advice will certainly help, although as he said, every creative process needs a little bit of luck. So, let's wish ourselves luck and continue to write! THANK YOU, Mr. BROWN, you are a legend!

A fellow student

Wow what a pleasure & a privilege it was to "meet" Dan Brown and get to learn from him. Thank you Dan for being so honest and real - you have given me the gift of belief in my own ability to bring my books to life. Thank you for being so generous and willing to share your experience through the MasterClass community.

Dan U.

Great teacher ... you just have to supply the talent, however, I’m convinced that following Dan Brown’s teachings along with other writers in this series or web site is all one needs to get started. If the talent is not there you will find out soon enough. But if you study the greats and their techniques, enjoy the thought of making your dream come to life you got a shot. Dan Brown is heaven sent and is supremely intelligent and creative in his approach to thriller writing dissecting the process almost entirely. Thank you so so much Dan Brown...thank you.

A fellow student

This is one of the best Master Classes I have ever taken for the craft of writing. So well laid out, and Dan just makes the process seem fun (which is supposed to be). I cannot thank Dan enough for sharing his method, and Masterclass for existing, thank you David Rogier & Aaron Rasmussen, for propelling the human race forward.

Eefa S.

Absolutely the best of the best! Going to be listening and watching on loop.

Janelle T.

Wow, I'm astonished at how amazing this man teaches. Dan, your lessons were by far the best ones I've taken in this Masterclass (in my opinion), and I'm so grateful for all the inspiring advice you've shared! Your words of wisdom will definitely push me to finish my novel. Thank you.

Tina W.

What a wonderful lesson. I have don this. It doesn't help me sell books but it does keep me focused on what I want to accomplish. Good or bad I will write it. My support group (my sisters and daughter) encourage me to keep going. They may not like the story, but they know I have it in me to create a good story. Just print these lessons and keep them on your desk for encouragement and direction.